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San Diego Pride must listen to the community

Commentary: Conversations with Nicole

It was in this column that the scandal of the old Pride board was first broken and the mismanagement of money and the no input from the community over the purchasing of their new million dollar offices.

The then highly respected intern Pride board made many commitments and promises to our community, the most important one being that they would continue to hold community townhouse meetings and get public input.

Well, many people are rightfully upset that this last townhouse meeting resulted with no public input on their agenda.

Worst of all, they announced that San Diego Pride would now be known as America’s Pride with, once again, no activists, leaders or community input.

As a co-founder of our first San Diego Pride march in 1974 I find this all very upsetting and agree with those voicing their objections, and indeed anger, on blogs and Web sites.

Also, many in our community want to know more about the status of the lawsuit against Pride over a young man being kicked out of the festival because of his leather outfit. This may end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and it could have ended a long time ago if Pride would have just apologized to this nice young man who ended up in jail with, of course, all charges dropped.

While we appreciate that the board is all-volunteer they know that the controversy and secretive nature of the last board almost destroyed San Diego Pride.

Well, while I wait for the two new elected chairs to be put in place, many are beginning to lose confidence and are getting concerned with the Pride board and I must say I can’t blame them.

Jose Julio Sarria: ‘Rosa Parks of the GLBT movement’

I was in San Francisco for about 30 hours to give a keynote speech for the 90th birthday banquet in honor of World War II veteran, Latino entertainer and the first openly gay candidate to run for public office in the world (1961), one of my personal heroes and role models – Jose Julio Sarria.

The sold-out event was a hotel ballroom full of love and respect for this historic figure and homosexual civil rights activist from the 1950s.

While I have spoken to almost a million people at the March on Washington and about 500,000 at Stonewall 25 in New York, this speech had me very nervous as I am also set to be his eulogist at his memorial and he is like a mother and hero to me.

In 1965 Jose founded the International Court System which now has chapters in 68 cities in the USA, Canada and Mexico. (I succeeded Jose seven years ago as its international chairman and CEO.)

The room was full of dignitaries, public officials, royalty and media with many flying in from as far as New York, Kentucky and Hawaii.

I sat with my longtime friend Cleve Jones (founder of the AIDS Quilt and historic advisor for the Oscar-winning movie Milk), also Russell Roybal, deputy director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF).

It was good to see longtime friends from the 1960s and 70s. We could not believe we were still alive!

It was nice talking to Sen. Mark Leno, Supervisor Scott Weiner, city treasurer, B.A.R. publisher and one of the most respected San Francisco citizens, Mr. Tom Horn among others.

Well, I prayed that I would do a good speech that truly would honor Jose and I was humbled to be the only speaker to receive a standing ovation as I called Jose Julio Sarria the “Rosa Parks of the gay rights movement,” as indeed he is.

I also recognized former supervisor and mayoral candidate and my “son” Bevan Duffy who helped me get a San Francisco street named after Jose (right by the Harvey Milk Library in the Castro).

Though I was tired and not feeling well I would not have missed Jose’s 90th birthday gala celebration for anything in the world!

People, politics and opinions

The Center recently received 00 from the estate of a past board president. It will help make up for the loss of funding and donations during the years of our down economy.

Please think of The Center or another GLBT organization in your will.

This coming Sunday County Commissioner Bruce Abrams will be hosting a 00-a-plate dinner at his stately home for state Assembly candidate Lorena Gonzalez. Among the main co-hosts are Congressman Scott Peters and City Commissioner Robert Gleason.

Our popular state Assemblymember Toni Atkins is now not only the new majority leader of the Assembly but rumors are many want her to be the next “speaker.”

I had a great lunch this week with District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and City Commissioner Stampp Corbin.

Well, the very final votes in the mayor’s race were finally all released and what looks like a close race the day after the election was really a rather comfortable win by Filner, who won by almost 5 percent (so says the Union-Tribune).

The final results: Filner 52.49 percent (245,092 votes); Carl DeMaio 47.51 percent (221,870).

Indeed, word from my Republican leadership friends is that San Diego politics have changed forever!

By the way, Mayor Bob Filner made gay civil rights icon Jose Julio Sarria the first “Honorary Citizen of San Diego” of his administration.

This week a representative from the City Council president’s office, two LGBT Center officials and I, as a city commissioner, will be visiting the transgender/GLBT tank in the county jail over some inmates’ accusations and complaints.

I thank Sheriff Gore for his quick response to these concerns.

I have been receiving calls about another March on Washington concerning the upcoming 2013 marriage decision. I want them to see the concern and faces of real Americans whose lives and future they hold in their hands.

Congratulations to the newly-elected vice president of the San Diego School Board, our very own Kevin Beiser.

Nicole Murray Ramirez has been an award-winning columnist since 1973, and a Latino and gay activist for well over 40 years. He is currently a city commissioner and has served the last five mayors of San Diego. He is also a national board member of the Harvey Milk Foundation and chairman of the International Court Council of the USA, Canada and Mexico. Nicolemrsandiego@aol.com

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Posted by on Dec 13, 2012. Filed under Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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